Aug 04

Measuring Sustainability – The Envision™ Rating System

The Envision Rating System logo.Performance rating systems for buildings, such as LEED, have become popular in recent years.  New rating systems have been proposed for other types of infrastructure, but most are specific to a particular industry or region.  The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the American Public Works Association (APWA), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) each saw a need for a more comprehensive system, not to supplant existing rating systems, but to extend them to a broader range of infrastructure projects including Energy, Waste, Water, Transport, Landscape, and Information.  They decided to join forces to form the non-profit Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) to develop and maintain a civil infrastructure rating system.  In collaboration with federal agencies, universities, consultants, professional societies, and municipalities, over 900 rating systems were evaluated to identify gaps, develop goals, and refine approaches.  In 2011, ISI and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard Graduate School of Design merged their two systems to create the Envision rating system for sustainable infrastructure.
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Nov 01

Solar Decathlon 2009

University of Kentucky “S.Ky Blue House”

University of Kentucky – S.Ky Blue House

Every two years the U.S. Department of Energy hosts a Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in which twenty college and university teams compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. A great deal of information is available from the Solar Decathlon website, and from the websites for the teams which are linked from there, so there’s no need to repeat any of that here. But we would like to share some observations about which ideas need further development, and which may be ready to become standard architectural practice.

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